A South Florida man made it really easy on officers when he passed out behind the wheel of his car in a jail parking lot. On Sunday, Christopher Lindsey Smith was found and arrested on a DUI charge Sunday. He was sent to Pasco County Jail in Land O’Lakes and was released on Monday on bond.
Smith was in his car slumped down in the driver seat when the staff at the jail went to check on him. The 2004 Chevy Impala’s keys were in the ignition and the radio was blaring. Smith was unresponsive.
The staff banged on the window for several minutes before he woke up. As soon as the door was open, deputies could smell the alcohol odor from him and the car. There was an opened beer in the cup holder.
Smith claims he only had two beers and was dropping his friend off at the jail. When asked to take a breath test, he refused. He was then arrested and booked at the jail, which was only a few steps away.
Reports say that Smith does not yet have a defense attorney representing him. There is no information on whether or not he will end up hiring a lawyer.
Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Florida
When people sign a driver’s license in the state of Florida, they agree to a field sobriety test if stopped by law enforcement and suspected of drunk driving. According to Florida law, this is called Implied Consent. If someone refuses after being stopped, the person often ends up suffering some consequences.
For the first refusal, a license suspension of one year may follow. If it’s a second refusal, there may a license suspension of 18 months and jail time.
Many people believe they have a better case if they refuse a sobriety test. While the penalties are often less compared to those of a DUI conviction, not everyone is relieved of a DUI conviction because they refused testing. This is especially true if it’s their second time.
Many prosecutors will use a refusal against the defendant. It’s easy for them to say that the defendant refused because he knew he was intoxicated. A good defense lawyer can refute this claiming there is no evidence that the defendant was intoxicated, even though he did refuse.
In this case, in which Smith was not actually driving the vehicle, a defense lawyer could demand proof he intended on driving. Without evidence showing he was going to drive, it’s hard to prove he was indeed about to drive drunk.
If you find yourself in this type of predicament, contact an experienced defense lawyer in Florida. One that knows the state laws in regards to refusal of a sobriety test, and be able to defend you in the best way. This way you could end up with a much lesser penalty, which could include only having to pay a fine, doing community service, or losing your license for less than a year.
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